Tag Archives: Cole Slaw

The Luck Of The Irish: Or, How I Made Barbecue on St. Patty’s Day

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day. Naturally, I was craving all of my favorite Irish foods: barbecue, cole slaw, and lemon yogurt cake.

Now, before you start throwing you blarney stones at me, I have an EXPLANATION.

The weather on Saturday was damn near flawless. It was 70. I wore flip flops. I wore a tank top. I ate dinner on the patio of a restaurant. ON THE GD PATIO.

And despite the fact that St. Patrick’s Day turned colder and I should’ve been seasonally celebrating the aforementioned St. Patrick, who did…a thing…for which he will always be remembered, I was not craving anything Irish. As much I love some corned beef and cabbage, the only thing Irish I was craving was Tom Branson.

He's dreamy

He’s dreamy.


Anyways. Warm weather! (That went away and became cold weather!) Delicious barbecue! (That was made indoors and is made of chicken and not porks!)

When you’re needing the south in your mouth (…ew….), who better to turn to than Paula Deen? She seems really nice and also, a little bit terrifying at the same time. Let me prove the terrifying point to you right now.

Um? I’m kind of terrified of Oprah, too.

I rarely crave cole slaw. But when I do, I fiend for it like an extra on The Wire. This recipe is from the Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, who won Next Food Network Star a few years back. I prefer to think of him coming to his title as Sandwich King by more traditional means, having ascended to the throne of Sandwichlandia when is father finally succumbed to the delicious, yet fatal, pastrami-thelioma.

….that joke sure was a long way to go for a ham sandwich.


Never mind.

This sandwich is good. And simple. The sweetness of the barbecue matches up well with the cool (temperature) of the cole slaw, with a tiny heat (spice) from the sriracha. Plus, you can’t go wrong with the earthy flavor of celery seeds. Cause bonus, they WILL always get in your teeth.

I also made this Lemon Yogurt Cake by my best friend Ina Garten. Because, well, she’s great at everything. Everything except making things that are low in fat or calories. In the paragraph about this recipe in Barefoot Contressa at Home, she says that because it has no butter, it’s a lighter version of a lemon cake. Huzzah! The replacement for the butter is whole milk yogurt (healthy!) and vegetable oil (…um….). Plus, it still has plenty of sugar in the cake and essentially two glazes. I’m not convinced it’s any more healthy unless you just want to say “well, there’s NO butter in this cake. Isn’t that marvelous!” But it DOES taste good, especially with a cup of coffee. For breakfast.


It was a lovely St. Patrick’s Day. Even though I didn’t wear any green. Or eat any colcannon. I’m gonna save that shit for the 4th of July.

Pulled Barbecue Chicken Sandwich, From Pauladeen.com

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 whole-wheat hamburger rolls
  • Coleslaw, optional, but….make that shit mandatory
Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium high heat. Once it shimmers, add the chicken thighs and sear until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in apple cider vinegar; using a wooden spoon stir up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, Worcestershire, cayenne, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the chicken back to the pan as well as any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Turn heat to low, cover and cook for 40 minutes.
A simmering


Once chicken is cooked, shred the meat with a fork in the skillet. Toss the meat through the sauce so it’s covered. Divide the pulled meat between 6 hamburger buns. Serve alongside with some coleslaw, if desired.
Barbecue Pulled Chicken and Cole Slaw Sandwich

Barbecue Pulled Chicken and Cole Slaw Sandwich

Three-Tone Power Cole Slaw, From Foodnetwork.com

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 ounces green cabbage, finely shredded | I used a bag of cole slaw mix and supplemented with pre-shredded carrots to get to about 18 ounces of cole slaw matter. Cause I was le tired.
  • 8 ounces red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated

Whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, mustard, Sriracha, sugar and celery seed. Season with salt and pepper.

This is the only slaw picture I took...so enjoy.

This is the only slaw picture I took…so enjoy.

In a large bowl, combine the green cabbage, red cabbage and carrots. Pour over the dressing and mix together. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Lemon Yogurt Cake, From Barefootcontessa.com or Barefoot at Home (copyright 2006)

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ¼ x 2 ½-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla.

B.W., Before Whisking

B.W., Before Whisking

Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Cake? Or Murderous Plant from Little Shop of Horrors?

Cake? Or Murderous Plant from Little Shop of Horrors?

Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Finished Cake? Or glazed murderous plant from Little Shop of Horrors?

Finished Cake? Or glazed murderous plant from Little Shop of Horrors?

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Novak family legend says that this rib recipe is why my pops fell for my mom.

If you take a look at the picture below, from 1979, I’m pretty sure he fell for the white pantsuit. Cause how could he not.


Sidenote. We know that this picture was taken on a night when my mother was neither cooking nor eating ribs. Cause how could you eat ribs in a WHITE PANTSUIT. Growing up, when we’d have ribs, I’d have to change into painting clothes to eat them. That is not a joke. And still, somehow, I’d wind up with rib sauce like near my ear. What the fuck was I doing with the ribs? Maybe I have a mouth ear… hmm.

Anyways. These ribs are the jam. And I’d been saying I’d make them for my friends Evan and Lauren since the dawn of time for forever for a while and I finally did about a week ago. Only hiccup? Lauren doesn’t eat meat.





Having never even purchased tofu at the grocery store before, I turned to my go to for recipes, FoodNetwork.com and searched “Barbecue Tofu” and was VERY disappointed. On 14 pages of Barbecue Tofu recipes, only 1 was actually barbecue tofu and it was a segment from a Bobby Flay show about barbecue. I lost interest after :12 seconds. And yes, I did actually look at all 14 pages.

So, I bought some firm tofu and just hoped that Lauren could help me. Cause that’s the kind of amazingly well researched fake food blog this is. Thankfully, Lauren learned me good. Which proves that she chose the right profession in becoming a teacher. She typically works with extra firm tofu, but this worked quite well. She taught me the steps to prepare the tofu. But the greatest lesson that she taught me is that the tofu is just a vehicle for sauce. So wise beyond her years…

Ah. The sauce. You guys. This sauce is so good. And frankly, it plays into some more Novak family legend. My mom tells me she got this sauce recipe off a bottle of Prell shampoo. She got the RIB SAUCE RECIPE off a BOTTLE OF SHAMPOO. I’ve tried Googling to verify, but to no avail. Prell doesn’t even exist anymore. Also? I work in advertising. Nowadays, I can’t imagine the hilarious faux (and real) outrage on social media if bumble and bumble came out with a recipe for Southern Fried Pork Chops. (“Um, yeah, hai, are they even organic free range pork chops, bb?”)

But it was the ‘70s. And it was different. I like this recipe even more because there’s a chance you could’ve been reading it in the shower and thought, “huh, this sounds good. After the Rockford Files, I’ll cruise on down to the store and pick up the ingredients to make this!”

I made the sauce the day before and reheated it over low, stirring frequently.When I made it the day ahead, I put it on some chicken wings that I did in the oven (400 for 45 minutes. Boom. Easy.)


If you’re having ribs, you’ve got to have them with some sort of potato (duh…it’s AMERICA) and you’ve got to have some cole slaw.

I made my internet friend Phoebe Lapine’s sweet potato fries. Phoebe is rull cool. Lives in New York, cookbook author, and private chef. Just competed on BBCA’s Chef Race. I might have shed a tear when she got eliminated. Check out her blog Feed Me Phoebe. Phoebe and I share a love for French fries which makes me think that we’d be friends IRL cause we’d talk about all the different things we’d dip French fries into over cocktails. “Aioli IS underrated,” we’d laugh! And then cheers and order another plate of fries while discussing the pros and cons of beer ketchup.

This recipe for gluten free sweet potato fries is amazing–tasty and easy. In fact, the hardest part is not chopping your fingers off when you are cutting the sweet potato. Seriously, you will want to/try to chop your fingers off. But don’t. It’s not a good idea, even though it seems like one at the time.

For all of my mom’s prowess at the shampoo rib sauce (please note: not made of actual shampoo), I grew up on Marzetti cole slaw dressing. So it’s not too hard to beat, even if it’s just a simple introduction of some acid in the form of apple cider vinegar. And bonus, for those on Weight Watchers, this is only 3 points per serving. Boom.

I was worried about using all one oven to get everything done: the fries go in at 450, the ribs usually go in at 350, the tofu goes in at I have no idea what temperature….700? Is that what it is for tofu? And I am fairly certain that you do not need to bake the cole slaw. (That one WAS a joke, y’all.) I just kept an eye on the ribs to make sure they looked ok. And nothing burned! Well. Some of the rib sauce that hit the sheet tray and burned, causing the smoke alarm to go off. Twice. Causing Evan to look really cool to dissipate the heat from around the smoke alarm.


Everything tasted really good, though. And I didn’t wind up with rib sauce by my ear. Small victories! I did wind up with some on my pants, though. And I almost knocked over my wine. But the piece de resistance was when I made my delicious plate and then dropped it right on the floor. I guess some things never change. I should’ve worn my paint clothes over.

Floor Ribs

Maria’s Famous Ribs, from a bottle of Prell Shampoo in the 1970’s

For the sauce:

  • 2 cups of ketchup
  • 1 bottle of Heinz chili sauce
  • 8 TB of brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup of yellow mustard
  • 8 t. of Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of garlic salt
  • thin slices of lemon (1 lemon)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan or small pot. Bring to boil for 10-15 minutes.

You can use immediately, cool and freeze or cool and refrigerate for use in the next few days.

For the ribs:

  • 1 rack of ribs | My mom says a butcher once told her that it doesn’t really matter which cut you get: babyback vs. spare ribs. The grocery store only had babyback and beef ribs and well, there’s no reason to eat beef ribs unless you don’t eat pork ribs. These babyback ribs were quite tender.

Cut the ribs into sections. (I like to go for 3 ribs per section.) Parboil the ribs in salted water for 45-60 minutes. Check for tenderness. Preheat oven to 350. Drain and pat excess moisture off. Baste ribs with sauce and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Plate of Ribs

For the tofu version:

  • 1 package of extra firm tofu

Drain. Cut into cross-wise. Press excess moisture out with a paper towel. Using oil or cooking spray, pan fry until golden and firm, roughly 10-12 minutes.

Place tofu in baking dish and cover with sauce. Bake for 15 minutes at 350, or until heated through.

Baked Tofu

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary, from Feed Me Phoebe

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, and paprika until well incorporated.

Before Fries

Arrange the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet in an even layer. Take care to give them some space and not overcrowd the pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, redistributing once during the cooking process, until browned and crispy. Allow to cool slightly – they will get even crisper and firmer as they come to room temperature.

After Fries

Simply, Skinny Crunchy Slaw, from Skinny Kitchen with Nancy Fox


  • 6 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup Nancy’s Skinny Ranch Dressing or reduced-fat mayonnaise | I did Duke’s reduced fat mayo here.
  • 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar

In a large bowl add shredded cabbage and carrots. In a small bowl whisk together reduced-fat mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar.

Refrigerate the cabbage, carrots and dressing until ready to serve.  Do not toss together until ready to eat.

Whole Shebang

Maria’s Shampoo Ribs, Phoebe’s Fries and Skinny Cole Slaw

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